From the Archives

Venous Access Port ( VAP)

After an estimated 104 hospital admissions for asthma and probably 10 times that number of IV sticks, I have no peripheral venous access left. A half a century of IV steroids has rendered my veins useless. The only place they can get lines in, are in my knuckles and toes. ...

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Do you know when it's time to go in?

The idea for this post came to me during the middle a recent severe exacerbation. Actually, it was the same exacerbation that put me in the hospital for 12 days, for which I am still recovering. Foremost on my mind during one of these really bad flares is the ...

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The Recovery phases of a severe asthma exacerbation

Suffice it to say, I wasn't exactly a happy camper when I wrote that Dr W helped me get through this awful time by reassuring me that what anguish I was experiencing was a normal response after suffering such a severe flare up, and that my complaints were ...

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15 months Intubation Free!

It feels good to brag about something positive for a change. This week marks 15 whole months since Ive had to have a tube shoved down my windpipe in order to breath. Ive had zero, what I would call "critical condition" type hospitalizations in that time period as well. Granted, ...

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Double Whammy Asthma

( updated 2-2014) I often find it frustrating that here I am, a life long asthmatic, a Respiratory therapist and an asthma educator, yet still unable in normal conversation, to describe what makes my type of asthma so different from others. When asked to define asthma in general, I usually ...

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I'm a recovering Albuter-holic

Rick, the author of the Respiratory Therapy Cave , wrote to me the other day talking about what it was like growing up with severe asthma. One of the things he mentioned that I thought was kinda funny, was how he used to sleep with an inhaler ...

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Propofol

Propofol

This is a picture of me on a ventilator last year during a severe asthma exacerbation ( what they call status asthmaticus). See the little IV bottle inside the blue rectangle with the milky looking stuff inside ? That's Propofol ! Also known as ...

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My Trip to Churchill

My journey begins in Winnipeg (my very first time crossing the Canadian border). Just 2 days earlier there had been a pretty bad snow storm and potential weather delays at the airport were a big concern.Fortunately things worked out and I got there on time without any problems. ...

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Lung Lingo

Yes it's true, we asthmatics have a language all our own.   Here's my current list. Please feel free to add new words and definitions to it .   Yellow Zoning When someone is stuck in their yellow breathing zone. Cradle Asthmatic A person who has had asthma since earlier childhood or ...

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Healing Walks

Carolyn Scott Kortge's new book is finally out and guess who's in one of the chapters? Carolyn contacted me about year ago for this project. She thought I had an interesting story to tell, and that it would fit in nicely with the motivational theme of the book. It's really ...

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Asthma guilt trip

How many times have you had a really bad asthma flare, but had serious trepidations about going to the emergency room for treatment? How many times have you felt guilty that maybe you weren't sick enough to be admitted to the hospital? Well, that's pretty much been the ...

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A quarter million puffs

A quarter million puffs

Care for some Albuterol? (Hey.....how did the primatine mist get in there?) I sometimes jokingly claim that Ive

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The SARP experience

The SARP experience

Welcome to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the

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Lung Transplant Evaluation Approved.

It's been way too long since I posted to my blog. Been doing most of my updating via my asthma support group on Facebook. So anyways, after 6 months of going around and around with the insurance company, they have finally agreed to pay for a full lung transplant evaluation. ...

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Boston 2011 Race Report

They don't call it the best marathon in the world for nothing , and this year was no exception. The weather was near perfect and the spectators and volunteers outdid themselves. The moment I entered athletes village and the disabled athletes staging area early Monday morning, my worries and stress about ...

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I'm Honored

Just found out that my story is appearing in the RCB's annual Newsletter.... "Breathing Matters". I'm always flattered when an organization or a person writes an article about my fitness walking achievements, but this one is special because it comes from the same government agency that regulates Respiratory Care in the ...

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Buried Alive

The photo is from the movie "Awake", but what happened to me last September was not fiction.. It was the real deal! Back on Sept 20th of 2010, I was admitted to the hospital for a severe asthma exacerbation(so what else is new). About 8 hours into the exacerbation, my ...

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Bassist extraordinaire

Bassist Extraordinaire.... Rick Shaw

A couple of Saturdays ago I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite bassists of all time, Rick Shaw. Rick has worked with all kinds of recording artists and is also the bassist for Johnny Mathis and Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, my favorite jazz band. ...

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Questions for Dr. Wenzel

Last week after finding out just how damaged my lungs really are, the only thing going through my head was..WHY? All of the assumptions I had made about my asthma throughout the years, suddenly didn't seem to make sense anymore. I was beginning to wonder if I really ever ...

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Prednisone Skin

Just one of the many joys of taking prednisone. I know chronic steroid use can cause paper thin skin ( what we call “crepe paper” skin in the biz), which then makes you more susceptible to spontaneous bruising, but Ive noticed lately that if I brush up against almost any surface, no matter how gently, […]

November 15, 2013 8
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UMPC Asthma Support Group

Starting this month and every month going forward, I’ll be posting the minutes from the UMPC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Severe Asthma Support Group conference calls. The calls are sponsored by the Asthma Institute at UMPC and moderated by Dr Sally Wenzel Pulmonologist and Deborah A. Gillman PhD, Clinical Psychologist. If you have difficult […]

November 6, 2013 0
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For the 112th time

Gee I haven’t written about a good ole hospital admission for quite sometime. Since I just completed my 112th, maybe now’s a good time. The theme for this latest admission is fun with steroid psychosis and why IV fluids should always be monitored closely. The fun begins The trigger to the flare leading up to […]

October 23, 2013 4
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Industrial scale nebbing

It’s delivery day for my Albuterol/Atrovent vials. I’ll go though this amount in about 8 weeks They supply 4 nebulizer machines I have throughout the house My main nebbing station is an art deco table from a 1930s cocktail lounge Do I do anything on a normal scale? No. Related Posts:6 times a dayMulti-taskingCool new […]

October 3, 2013 2
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A SARP’in we will go…….

In a few weeks I’m off to Pittsburgh again to participate in SARP III. The focus of SARP III is to study the stability of clinical and molecular phenotypes of severe Asthma. Basically they’re looking for the bio signature of certain mast cells in the serum and plasma and whether they are maintained over the […]

September 28, 2013 1
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Dear Blackie Fish (1997-2013)

Dear Sampson, aka Blackie Fish ( nicknamed for his long black fur and star shaped paws), You were the awkward stepchild, the middle child of 2 other cats who shared our home. We adopted you from a cat rescue in Woodland California in 1999 when you were 2 years old. We suspected you came from […]

September 26, 2013 4
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Asthma Phenotypes

Physician researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute at UPMC are now using molecular and genetic information to identify asthma phenotypes and customize therapies in order to improve patient outcomes. If you have asthma and would like to contribute to this on going research, please consider volunteering for

September 19, 2013 0
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Tour De Badass YVR

“Badassmatic (adj.): Person with asthma better defined by badassery. Possesses insatiable desire for growth, change and adventure.“ ( Brought to you courtesy of Kerri Mac Kay) ***For more Badass adventures check out last years trip to Churchill *** Related Posts: Guest Post by Kerri Instant AccessSteve – 9, Lung disease—a big fat ZERO!Self Observations: FEV1 […]

August 26, 2013 2
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Hotelspital

For those of you who thought I was kidding…No, it’s not a hotel, it’s my hospital. But the poshness doesn’t end there. The information counter at the front entrance looks more like the registration desk at a 5 star Hotel, and occasionally you’ll find a chamber orchestra playing in one of many the sitting areas […]

July 29, 2013 7
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15 months Intubation Free!

It feels good to brag about something positive for a change. This week marks 15 whole months since Ive had to have a tube shoved down my windpipe in order to breath. Ive had zero, what I would call “critical condition” type hospitalizations in that time period as well. Granted, I’m still ending up in […]

July 17, 2013 4
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Itemized Hospital Bill for Asthma Exacerbation

Well, the hospital bills have reached new levels of absurdity. I thought my medical bills from a few years back were crazy, but this one takes the cake. I particularity like the $1900 charge for an Advair inhaler ( listed as “FLUTICAS/SALMETER INH 500/50″) on the bill, and $900 for Fluticasone nasal spray( ie Flonase). […]

June 15, 2013 4
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24 Hours in the life of an Asthmatic

Check out Kerri’s vlog post and follow us through a typical day living with asthma. Related Posts:Asthma Phenotypes Guest Post by Kerri 12 month Update The letterBehind that finish line smile Bound for Beantown

May 31, 2013 1
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Dupilumab , A Game Changer ?

When I heard the news today that there’s a new drug in the pipeline for severe asthma, I about fell out of my chair. When you hear one of the world’s most respected asthma researchers proclaiming that this new drug is a “game changer”, you can’t help but feel a little more optimistic about the […]

May 23, 2013 3
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